Posts tagged ‘Salary’

January 12, 2016

Quebec’s proposed deal with public sector workers: a hollow victory for unions?

After months of mobilization and negotiation, union leaders are more interested in claiming victory than in actually achieving it

By Robert Green | Published January 5, 2016 by Richochet.media

Prior to the holidays, teachers, parents and students in Quebec received some hopeful news: the Common Front, consisting of unions representing over 400,000 of the province’s half a million public sector workers, had overcome their final hurdle and arrived at an agreement on salaries. The news was filled with stories of satisfied union leaders trumpeting the fact that they had persuaded the government to move from their initial offer of 3 per cent in salary increases over five years to an increase of between 9.15 per cent and 10.25 per cent per year.

It may therefore come as a surprise to readers to learn that many public sector workers are preparing to vote against the deal. Delegates for the federation representing health care workers, which represents nearly one-quarter of the Common Front’s membership, have already voted to reject the deal. The FAE labour federation, which represents 34,000 teachers in the province’s French school boards (but is not a member of the Common Front), is recommending that its members reject a similar deal.

Why are Quebec workers, who have been without a contract since last April, skeptical of the proposed settlement? Because, on closer inspection, the deal on offer is not at all the victory that the Common Front leaders are claiming.

read more »

Advertisements
January 5, 2016

Extracurricular activities are back on at the EMSB following tentative deal

By Katharine Wilton | Published January 5, 2015 by the Montreal Gazette

Excerpt:

While union leaders are recommending that teachers ratify the agreement, Robert Green, a teacher at Westmount High School, said he cannot support the deal. Green said he is unhappy that Common Front leaders are including lump-sum payments and adjustments to salary scales when calculating the 9 per cent pay increase.

“When these are removed, the actual salary increase is 5.25 per cent over five years,” Green said. “A lump-sum payment (1.5 per cent) is not a salary increase. The numbers the Common Front is putting out is being presented in a very manipulative way.”

A 2.4 per cent increase that was negotiated as part of a government plan to reduce pay scales for civil servants should not be included in the nine per cent increase, Green contends. “These were separate negotiations,” he said. “The unions are making it seem that the government has come further than it actually has.”

Green said he is also unhappy that there are still not enough resources for students with special needs. “We are left with a status quo that has 25 per cent of teachers leaving the profession in the first five years,” he said.

Read more: http://montrealgazette.com/news/extracurricular-activities-are-back-on-at-the-emsb-following-tentative-deal

October 27, 2015

Measuring up to the Rest of Canada Part 1: Quebec vs New Brunswick

October 25, 2015

Those present at the meeting for the Montreal Teachers Association’s strike vote heard a number of remarkable things from our union leadership. QPAT’s chief negotiator, Olivier Dolbec, for example described the various times teachers had been legislated back to work as victories in which teachers came out ahead. Dolbec’s central piece of evidence for this claim was that the back-to-work legislation of 2005 won us our current limits on class size.

This might be an interesting point if it were true. In fact the current limits on class size were the central element in the 2010 negotiations that convinced teachers to vote in favour of a negotiated settlement. The 2005 strike resulted in teachers being legislated back to work with the exact provisions government had put on the table prior to the strike. In other words, this strike did absolutely nothing to move government from what it was intending to do all along. One would think that QPAT’s chief negotiator would have his facts straight on such matters.

As if this was not enough to cast serious doubt on the judgement and integrity of our chief negotiator, Mr Dolbec then stunned the room with this remarkable statement:

“This is – and I challenge anyone in the room to say the opposite – this is the best collective agreement for teachers AROUND THE WORLD”

WHS teacher Robert Lavoie has taken up Mr Dolbec’s challenge. In this the first of a multi-part series Mr Lavoie presents a thorough comparison of the collective agreement of Quebec’s teachers with that of New Brunswick’s.

read more »

June 21, 2015

Video: Le gouvernement du Québec méprise l’éducation

January 10, 2015

Teachers should not be the only ones who take teaching seriously

By Katharine Cukier | Published Jan 9, 2015 by The Montreal Gazette

Excerpt:

I have 150 wonderful students in an enriched-program high-school, but I have reading and writing levels that range from Grade 5 to CEGEP level in each of my classes of 28-30. The trick, or the art, if you will, is how to stimulate the top third, while keeping the middle engaged. The more challenged third always need one-on-one time for revising and editing, review and encouragement. And then there are the 30 individuals, mini human universes, in each class to consider, as well. In my classroom, I am a non-stop stand-up comedian, sergeant-major disciplinarian, brownie baking and naggy mom-ster. I’m also an 21st-century anachronism, so I also get really, really excited about poetry and Shakespeare and do my best to think of fresh, inspired pedagogical cartwheels to light the spark.

Teaching kids in the 21st century demands patience, humour, creativity and stamina. And humility. It also demands that governments support the role of teachers in our society and that means genuine attention to our working conditions. The contract issues of workload, salary, class size, pensions are all issues of respect for teachers, but are implicitly tied to respect for our children and their future. We need to reinvigorate the truism: education matters to the well-being of individuals and societies and therefore, teachers, the essential human capital in education, require long-term investment.

Read more: http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/opinion-teachers-should-not-be-the-only-ones-who-take-teaching-seriously

January 8, 2015

Austerity for Quebec’s schools and an insult for Quebec’s teachers

By Robert Green | An edited version of this article was published Jan 7, 2015 by the Montreal Gazette

During his most recent election campaign Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard stated that protecting the quality of education would be one of his government’s main priorities.

It is now clear, Phillipe Couillard was not telling the truth.

Since coming into office he and his hapless Minister of Education Yves Bolduc have done nothing but propose policies that will harm the quality of education in Quebec.

teacher_payBy insulting teachers with a contract offer that will likely see their real wages eroded by at least 7 percent over five years, the Couillard government is sending a clear message that it does not value the teaching profession. Quebec’s teachers are already the lowest paid in Canada with some of the most difficult working conditions. If this initial offer is any indication, the government is intent on ensuring that this wage gap with teachers in other provinces not only remains but in fact widens.

What is the cost for students and for society as a whole when high quality teachers are driven out of the profession, or worse, when high quality candidates choose not to enter the profession in the first place? Sadly, if Couillard has his way, we may soon find out.

Perhaps even more insulting to teachers is the government’s proposal to increase our workload. What Mr Bolduc doesn’t seem to realize is that past increases to our workload have made it such that teachers already cannot accomplish the task they have been assigned within the hours they are paid. Despite this fact, the vast majority of teachers, because they are committed professionals, choose to take marking home to do during evenings and weekends. It is also extremely common for teachers to use their sick days to catch-up on marking. Each time teachers do either of these things they are in effect making a personal donation to Quebec’s public education system and helping to cover-up the fact that past governments have not made adequate investments in education.

To threaten to increase the workloads of teachers in such a context where the vast majority of teachers are already working an untold number of unpaid hours from home demonstrates that Couillard and Bolduc are either utterly ignorant of the realities of Quebec’s teaching profession or reckless ideologues that simply don’t care. The government is risking alienating teachers to the point where we stop working hours for which we are not paid. If that happens we will not need to strike because the system, which is being propped up by the thousands of volunteer hours donated by Quebec’s teachers, will fall apart.

Perhaps the most obvious example of the Couillard government’s total disregard for public education is his proposal to remove limits on class size. This was accompanied by Bolduc’s astonishing claim that there is no evidence to suggest that class size reductions improve educational outcomes. That Quebec’s Minister of Education is unversed in the enormous body of research demonstrating the contrary is disturbing enough; that he apparently didn’t even bother to do a little research before making this announcement demonstrates a shocking level of disregard for the public interest.

Of course the government claims that these tough decisions are necessary to tame Quebec’s ballooning deficit. The problem with this claim is that in many places around the world where such austerity measures are being implemented economic growth is harmed and deficits end up growing. Since 2012 the IMF has made repeated warnings against further austerity because of its demonstrated capacity to harm economic growth.

The other problem with the government’s claim is that our current deficits were not in fact caused by spending. Since the early nineties government spending in Quebec has been trending downward. Quebec’s public sector has time and again done its part to help government achieve the goal of deficit reduction. The real cause of our current deficit is a series of tax cuts enacted since the early 2000’s that have disproportionately benefited Quebec’s wealthiest citizens to an enormous degree. For example, according to L’Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-economique (IRIS) the $950 million in tax cuts the Liberals offered in 2007-2008 provided absolutely nothing to households with $25,000 in income, $110 to households with $50,000 in income and a whopping $1859 to households with $150,000 in income. The cut to taxes on capital gains which began in 2005-2006 was essentially a massive gift to the banks that deprives Quebec’s public coffers of 1.9 billion annually.

Reversing these two tax cuts alone would almost eliminate Quebec’s deficit. Instead, Couillard is asking vulnerable public school children to pay for these tax cuts. This is not a necessity; it is a choice he is making.

If Couillard wants Quebecers to believe that he is anything other than a reckless right-wing ideologue intent on protecting the interests of the wealthy he should explain how cutting a public education system that benefits all Quebecers is preferable to reversing these tax cuts which have benefited so few.

 

August 27, 2014

Pay The Fucking Teachers – a rant

By Wes Borg | Published June 26, 2014 by My Dumb Blog

A rare (I promise) and unsolicited rant from this particular comedian:
Pay the fucking teachers. Shut the fuck up and pay them a lot of money.
Don’t hesitate. Don’t argue. Just suck it up and give the fucking teachers whatever they fucking want.
An educated public commits less crime, makes more money, and has a lower birth rate. They probably even fucking swear less often.
Education is the magic fucking bullet to get us out of the economic, political and environmental shitstorm we are about to be swimming in.
Education is not just the magic fucking bullet, it’s our ONLY fucking bullet.
There are currently 7 billion people on this planet.
In the year 2000, there were 6 billion.
That’s a BILLION extra people since Destiny’s Child was a thing.
Wrap your fucking mind around that one.
During Beyoncé’s career, from “Bootylicious” to “Drunk in Love”, the world’s population increased by over 16%. (Don’t blame Beyoncé, she’s just trying to entertain the nice people with her music and titties.)
Oh, and the oceans are about to start rising, flooding cities and wiping out entire fucking islands over the next 50 years. It’s going to happen, and we have NO IDEA how to even just SLOW IT DOWN.
So we are about to have way too many people living on less and less land.
How the FUCK do you think that’s gonna work out?!
Oh, and we’re almost out of oil.
Now obviously “the rich are going to move to the higher ground” (Geoff Berner) and start shooting anyone who comes near the compound, and religious fanatics are going to say it’s God’s Will or some other stupid shit, but the only hope for the rest of us is that the kids growing up today get fucking smart, fucking fast.
Tags: ,
June 21, 2014

The disconnect between economic growth and teachers’ wages

By | Published June 19, 2014 by The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

A number of recent articles on the BC teachers’ strike have suggested that teachers could get the wage increases they want to see, as well as the needed investments in reducing class size and improving class composition, if only they supported resource development.

Jordan Bateman of the BC Taxpayers Federation summed up the line of argument (and took a jab at teachers’ math skills) in his recent blog post title “Simple math for teachers: economic growth = higher wages”.

The theory is indeed very simple: resource development would lead to economic growth and economic growth would lead to higher wages for everyone, including teachers.

But does it actually work in practice?

Let’s take a look at what has happened to economic growth and teachers wages post-recession.

Read more:http://www.policynote.ca/the-disconnect-between-economic-growth-and-teachers-wages/

Tags:
June 12, 2014

Austerity by any other name would smell as foul

An edited version of this article ran in the June 11th edition of the Montreal Gazette under the title “A bad budget for education

By Robert Green

There’s a very good reason the Couillard government wants to avoid using the word “austerity”. The word has become associated with a villainous act that evokes the names of such detested figures as Ebenezer Scrooge and the Sheriff of Nottingham; the act of taking from the poor to give to the rich.

However, avoiding the use of the word austerity may not be enough to prevent Quebecers from seeing the villainous truth behind the recent Liberal budget.

The Leitão budget is clearly moving Quebec in the direction of Choice #2

The Leitão budget is clearly moving Quebec in the direction of Choice #2

Nowhere is this more true than with respect to the Leitão budget’s implications for education. While Quebec’s wealthy will see no change whatsoever to the generous subsidies they receive to send their children to elite private schools, the province’s most needy students will be asked to make do with less.

The Leitão budget has extremely serious implications for Quebec’s public schools. It imposes cuts of $150 million for 2014-15, restrains growth in spending to a paltry 2.2 percent for the years following and freezes hiring for administrative posts.

The reason these cuts are so serious is that they are being imposed at a time when Quebec’s public education system is already in crisis.

School boards are in financial crisis having already been cut to the bone thanks to the $640 million in cuts since 2010. Some have resorted to running deficits while others have sought to raise school taxes. The notion that school boards still have bureaucratic fat that can be cut without affecting services to students is contradicted by both the school boards themselves and public sector unions.

Schools are in crisis due to the growing number of special needs students – a crisis exacerbated by a large and growing private school system that is permitted to use entrance exams to filter out such students, causing them to flood into public schools. The spending cuts mean that there will be even less money for psychologists, child care workers, speech therapists and drug councillors. In other words, fewer resources that can offer children with special needs the fighting chance they deserve.

read more »

September 8, 2013

Baisse salariale en vue pour les professeurs de cégep

By Lisa-Marie Gervais | Published 7 septembre 2013 by Le Devoir

Les profs de cégep perdent du galon. Le Conseil du trésor a réévalué leurs tâches et leur offre désormais un salaire moindre que les enseignants au préscolaire, au primaire et au secondaire. La Fédération nationale des enseignants (FNEEQ-CSN) a déjà voté pour des moyens de pression afin de faire reculer le gouvernement.

« Je peux vous dire que les enseignants sont en colère », a déclaré au Devoir, Micheline Thibodeau, responsable du regroupement cégep de la Fédération nationale des enseignants (FNEEQ-CSN), qui représente plus des trois quarts des profs de cégep.
En clair : cette réévaluation, qui les a déclassés d’un rang (de la 22e à la 21e place), baisse de 5 % leur salaire (ce qui correspondrait à trois à quatre semaines de salaire). Elle ne permet plus aux enseignants des collèges de faire reconnaître une maîtrise ou un doctorat. « On ne comprend pas l’attitude du gouvernement. Il a formé un ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, il a reconnu le collégial, mais le Conseil du trésor vient maintenant nous dire qu’on est en deçà des profs de maternelle », a lancé Mme Thibodeau.

Read more: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/386906/baisse-salariale-en-vue-pour-les-profs-de-cegep

Tags: ,
May 9, 2013

If America’s Serious About Appreciating Teachers, Here’s What it Takes

By Jose Vilson | Published May 7, 2013 by good.is

Excerpt:

How do we actually appreciate teachers?

For one, America can start by giving teachers more voice in policy and practice. Our voices in the decision-making process have been nullified or patronized, an attitude reserved for a woman-dominated profession. Teachers shouldn’t just have a seat at the tables currently reserved for wealthy businessmen, technology experts, policy wonks, fresh out-of-the-Ivy-League newbies, and politicians. They should get the opportunity to create the table, creating the consortia, and developing the protocols for how we discuss our profession. Respect for expertise goes a long way towards making teachers feel appreciated.

We can also pay teachers well. We can pay beginning teachers a liveable wage—$45,000—and get third-year teacher salaries up to $65,000 and up, maxing out at $140,000. Of course, we can have other discussions on remuneration, but, as National Board Certified teacher Renee Moore would say, “We shouldn’t be afraid to get paid.”

More to the point, we need to assure that teachers have a wage that keeps them satisfied with their jobs and unafraid to try best practices, akin to doctors and lawyers as they move up in their professions. Having a union assures that teachers get equitable salaries regardless of sex, race, or religion, and we can use a healthy mix of old and new solutions to ensure equitable payment for educators.

Lastly, we can improve working conditions for all schools. Instead of investing monies towards bigger central office staff and SmartBoards, we can work on improving our school buildings. We need to make them look friendlier and less like prisons. We can make school lunches healthier, and provide students with recess and the arts more often. We can reduce the constant need for standardized diagnostic testing that requires special programs and seating arrangements that take away from, not promote, classroom learning. Also, as education advocate Patrick J. Sullivan would say, our strategy for improving schools can’t be “open-close-open-close.” Sustaining these ecosystems takes much more thoughtfulness than we currently invest.

Read more: http://www.good.is/posts/if-america-s-serious-about-appreciating-teachers-here-s-what-it-takes

August 25, 2012

Education and the 2012 Quebec Election: Part Seven – What do the Parties Have Planned for Teachers?

By Robert Green

Thus far this series has looked at where Quebec’s political parties stand on education funding, curriculum reform, school autonomy ,the abolition of school boards , reducing the dropout rate and private school subsidies. This article will examine what the parties have in store for the province’s teachers.

Right now across North America there is a well financed war being waged against teachers and their unions. The proponents of this war argue that the source of poor student achievement is too many lazy or incompetent teachers with too much job security. The solution they propose is usually a combination of taking away the job security and collective bargaining rights of teachers along with some form of merit pay scheme. In the US this is being achieved through the closing of public schools and the opening of semi-private charter schools (staffed by non-unionized teachers) in their place. This is the vision of school reform promoted by those referred to as “corporate education reformers” through slickly produced propaganda films such as “Waiting for Superman” and the soon to be released “Won’t Back Down”.

The first problem with this narrative is that it is extremely insulting to the vast majority of teachers who are neither lazy nor incompetent and who in fact donate untold hours of unpaid work on their evenings and weekends to help their students succeed.

The more serious problem with this narrative from a policy perspective, is that it is directly contradicted by the available evidence. Other than class size, the amount of experience possessed by teachers is one of the few factors that have been shown by a wide body of evidence to be correlated positively with increased student success. Not surprisingly then, since unions protect the job security and working conditions of teachers, improved student success is also correlated with rates of unionization. The fact that a teacher’s working conditions happen also to be the student’s learning conditions goes a long way in explaining this. While it is true that correlation is not necessarily an indication of causation, those advocating to improve schools by attacking teachers unions need to explain why it is that students in regions without teachers unions do consistently worse in terms of achievement than students in regions where teachers are unionized.

read more »

June 4, 2012

Comic: Teachers worth their wages?

Tags:
December 13, 2011

New Study Comparing Private and Public Sector Wages

Battle of the Wages study dispels myths about public sector wages

Posted Dec 13th on The Progressive Economics Forum

“There’s significant correlation between public and private sector pay over time: we know that from wage bargaining.  It’s interesting to see that some in government have actually admitted it.  Both reports from the European Commission and Canada’s Associate Deputy Minister of Finance have stated that a major policy reason for constraining public sector pay is “to reduce undue upward pressure on private sector wages.”  (see footnote 12 in the report for more studies on this issue).

That’s right: governments are constraining public sector pay not so much to reduce deficits–they could reverse the corporate tax cuts to achieve that–but also to help suppress private sector wages.   And that’s why the CFIB has been pushing this with their own flawed  reports, so wages for their workers will be kept low and profits will rise.”

Read More: http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2011/12/13/battle-of-the-wages-study-dispels-myths-about-public-sector-wages/

Tags:
December 8, 2011

Salary Provisions of the New Contract Demystified – Part Two

By Robert Green

Part one of this article discussed the core guaranteed salary increases in the current collective agreement. Now comes the fun part: explaining the rather convoluted formula for potential additional increases and what this all means in the big picture.

In addition to the guaranteed 6 percent over five years the agreement also contains several additional increases triggered by growth in Quebec’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

What the heck is ‘nominal’ GDP?

The GDP is the basic measure of economic growth. There are two ways economists look at the GDP. ‘Real’ GDP presents a picture of economic growth adjusted for the effects of inflation. As inflation changes from year to year this allows economists to compare one year’s economic growth with another. This is the most commonly referred to measure of economic growth. ‘Nominal’ GDP on the other hand is a measure of economic growth that includes the effects of inflation (on all goods not simply those used to determine the Consumer Price Index). Therefore nominal GDP can be understood as a composite of real GDP plus inflation.

read more »